Ranking NU Teams Since 1980: No. 24

By at July 9, 2010 | 9:08 AM | Print

In July, we’ll be ranking all 30 of Nebraska teams since 1980, worst to first. Be sure to keep track and argue along the way. Remember, too, to visit our 30 best games and 30 best players series since 1980, as well. Enjoy!

2008 Nebraska

Overall Record (Big 8/12): 9-4 (5-3)
Titles won: Gator Bowl
All-Americans: None

Summary: Bo Pelini’s first year at Nebraska was unquestionably an improvement over the 2007 campaign, but it included two disappointing blowout losses to Missouri and Oklahoma and a generally poor performance vs. 5-6 Colorado that was redeemed by Alex Henery’s miracle 57-yard field goal. The Gator Bowl, a 26-21 win over Clemson, mirrored the entire season to some extent, as NU’s sloppy errors led to a 21-10 third-quarter deficit, while the Huskers’ resiliency led to a big comeback.

NU rolled its first three foes – Western Michigan, San Jose State and New Mexico State – while working out some of the typical kinks before dropping a game to Virginia Tech 35-30, due to a number of blown defensive assignments and some untimely special teams play in the first half. In that game, a pattern emerged that would continue in several games: Nebraska was capable of excellence during one stretch, and mediocrity in another.

Missouri rolled into town the following week, and pummeled Nebraska from the opening kickoff to the final whistle, 52-17, passing over and running through the beleaguered Big Red, which touted a special gameplan to thwart Mizzou QB Chase Daniel before the game. It was nowhere to be found.

Surprisingly, the Huskers rebounded with their best performance of the season in a 37-31 overtime loss to Texas Tech the following week. NU outplayed the Red Raiders, but mental breakdowns on a handful of big Tech plays – plus an ill-advised interception thrown by Joe Ganz – caused Nebraska a chance at the upset.

After two straight wins over Iowa State and Baylor, the Huskers lost 62-28 to Oklahoma. OU led 35-0 after the first quarter. NU had four turnovers in those 15 minutes to seal its fate. The Huskers rolled off three wins over Kansas, Kansas State and CU to end the regular season.

Other than being Bo’s first year, 2008 will be remembered for Ganz, who broke the school record for passing yards by throwing for 3,568. He rushed for 258, too. Wide receiver Nate Swift broke the school record for career receptions. Ndamukong Suh was nothing short of brilliant, scoring two defensive touchdowns, notching 76 tackles and 7.5 sacks. He also blocked two kicks.

Highlight: Until his interception, Ganz was brilliant in the Texas Tech game. Hennery’s field goal was fairly amazing.

Lowlight: The Missouri game. Nebraska spent the second half jawing with Mizzou players and getting their Big Red rear ends handed to it. NU was a better, more organized team after that game.

Check out the rest of the list!

No. 30, No. 29, No. 28, No. 27, No. 26, No. 25

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